VP External: Jen Smith

Jen Smith is a well-spoken, informed and experienced candidate for VP External. Her ideas are strong, well thoughtout, realistic and she has the gumption to fight for them.

Smith displays an intimate knowledge of the lobbying avenues available to the VP External and has concrete plans on how to best utilize them. Her intentions to raise the issue of affordable housing to the Municipal government are noble, but may prove impossible. She also expressed an interest in approaching local advocacy groups to lend credibility to student issues. Again, if it works it could be lucrative.

Another pillar of Smith’s platform is her desire to increase student participation at the U of C. She plans on re-instating the SU’s online forums–which she was actively involved in–holding activist workshops and offering non-elected students opportunities to involve themselves in the SU. It is perhaps a little idealistic to expect students to involve themselves in these ways, but you don’t know until you try.

Smith is enthusiastic about utilizing commissioners in her portfolio and rightly so, since she’s had two years experience in that position–one in Events and one in External. She appears very sincere about her intentions to encourage and facilitate ideas and action in others.

As anyone involved in the Students’ Legislative Council will know, Smith is often vocal and antagonistic during discussions. Some council members find her to be abrasive, but if her passion for debate is focused on administration and the government as VP External and away from petty internal SU bickering, perhaps she may do great things.

Ideally, what needs to be on Bill 1?

“Right now the only thing in Bill 1 is $500 for each child born in 2005 and afterwards, but that doesn’t help students like us who are already here. I think things such as more base funding and reforming the student loan system should be on Bill 1.”

How will you work with university administration to solve student issues and concerns?

“I don’t want to alienate administration, but I think we’ve been a little soft on them this year. At the Board of Governors presentation we had a slide saying that we are attacking the problem, not administration or the government. I think that is just silly. If neither of them are the problem, what is?”

How will you utilize your commission?

“I’d really like to engage them, help them with their projects and make sure they are successful. I expect them to help me with my projects.”